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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  June 26, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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>> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> it basically is allow law enforcement to go forward and racially profiled poor people and people of color. we believe this is a decision that sets back civil rights. >> arizona vs the united states. the supreme court overturns key parts of arizona's anti- immigrant law sb1070, but the court upholds the law's controversial show me your papers provision. we go to phoenix. in another major decision, the court rules children cannot be sentenced to life in prison without parole. we will speak with bryan stevenson of equal justice initiative in montgomery. he argued the case before the supreme court. >> life without parole is
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supposed to be a judgment that says, this person is beyond hope, beyond redemption, beyond rehabilitation. should be properly condemned for the commitment to violence, destruction. you can never say that about a child of 13 or 14 brega >>, morsi has become the first ever democratically elected president of egypt. >> i approach all of you on this day we are witnessing on which i have become, thanks to god in your welcome the president to all egyptians. i will treat all egyptians the same and respect them equally. >> we will be joined by "democracy now!" sharif abdel kouddous, just back from cairo. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the supreme court struck down a
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montana law limiting corporate political spending declining to revisit its landmark citizens united ruling that opened the floodgates for corporate spending on elections. in a 5-4 ruling monday, the justices reversed a lower-court decision that upheld the century old montana law curbing corporate political spending. many supporters hoped the court would consider citizens united, but instead the court said the 2010 ruling applies to montana state law. in a dissenting opinion, justice breyer challenged the decision writing -- the supreme court meanwhile has upheld a key component of arizona's controversial anti- immigration law while striking down three other provisions. in a long-awaited decision monday, the court rejected sb1070's roles subjecting
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undocumented immigrants to criminal penalties for seeking work or failing to carry immigration papers at all times. in each case, the majority said those powers rest with the federal government, not with arizona. but in a unanimous decision, the justices upheld a controversial section 2-b, which requires police to check immigration status of people they stop before releasing them. in a statement, the aclu said -- we will have more on the arizona ruling after the headlines. and several in on monday, the supreme court ruled states may not impose mandatory life sentences without parole on children, even if they have been convicted of taking part in a murder. and a five to four decision, the justices ruled such harsh sentencing for children violates the eighth amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. the ruling does not mean the
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2500 juvenile offenders currently serving such sentences must be released, only that they now get the chance for parole. the two cases at issue involved 14-year-old boys to a taken part in murders in arkansas and alabama. we will have more on this story later in the broadcast. a military judge has ordered prosecutors to hand over key documents to attorneys for the accused whistleblower bradley manning. on monday, judge denise lind ruled the government must share damage assessment reports that evaluated the impact of the publication of government cables that manning is accused of providing to wikileaks. manning's attorneys had filed the request after accusing prosecutors of withholding information that could help his case. news reports have suggested internal government reviews have found the leak caused minimal damage, contradicting prosecutors' contention that manning harmed national security and aided u.s. foes. in a statement, the bradley
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manning support network said -- ecuador's ambassador to britain has returned home to discuss wikileaks founder julian assange's bid for political amnesty. assange has spent a week in the ecuadorian embassy in london seeking to avoid extradition to sweden where he faces questioning on allegations of sexual assault. assange and his supporters say he's ultimately concerned with avoiding being sent to the united states to face punishment for the wikileaks cables. the ecuadoran ambassador said assange's bid remains under review. >> we have offered him the keys to survive, food and access people to come to visit him. we're providing him with the basics. this is what we have undertaken
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while this matter is worked out in a decision is made accord to the adoring government. >> latin american governments continue to denounce the ouster of the paraguayan president and what is the called a parliamentary coup. on friday, the senate voted 39-4 to dismiss him saying he had failed to maintain public order. on monday, the south american political bloc unacer against an emergency meeting to address his removal. cuban president castro criticized peregrine lawmakers for their effort against lugo. >> the man has nine months left in his presidency and did not even think about being reelected. there was no reason to do what they have done. it was say today's top it is unusual to see a xoup of this time -- coup of this type
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critics on monday, the obama administration issued its first substantive comments on lugo's removal saying it does not believe his ouster constitutes a coup. speaking in washington, spacex person to torrey said the u.s. is concerned over the events in paraguay, but has not yet determined -- spokesperson victoria nuland said the u.s. is concerned over the events of paraguay, but has not yet determined the situation confirmed lugo had met with -- on thursday, the day of his impeachment. a 2009 diplomatic cables released by wikileaks shows u.s. officials believed lugo's opponents were planning to remove him the the same channels as they did last week. the campbell described his opponent's goal as "capital as on any lugo mis steps to break the political deadlock in congress, impeach lugo and assure their own political
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supremacy." mexico is in the final week of campaigning before next sunday's presidential election. former mexico city mayor obrador has surged in the polls to challenge frontrunner pena nieto. obrador nearly lost the 2006 elections by less than a percentage point to outgoing mexican president calderón. lopez obrador called for addressing inequality in mexico. >> we do not combat poverty and inequality, we will not be a nation at peace. of frustration will continue. hate will continue. insecurity and violence will continue. >> tropical storm debbie is continuing to drench parts of florida where it has already spurred tornadoes and dump torrential rains. this marks the first time in recorded history four tropical
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storms have been documented before july 1. the storm halted 23% of oil and gas production in the region sunday as workers were evacuated from drilling rigs and production plants in the gulf of mexico. in mid-may, tropical storm alberto became the earliest tropical storm in the atlantic in nearly a decade. the pension fund giant tiaa-cref has removed caterpillar from its social choice equity fund following long-term protest by activists for palestinian rights. the tiaa-cref and other pension funds have come under pressure to remove caterpillar over the company's ties to israel's occupation of the west bank and gaza strip. caterpillar has supplied the bulldozers that have razed thousands of palestinian homes, destroyed palestinians' arable land, and a tourist killed the u.s. activist rachel quarry in 2003. the decision removes more than $73 million in pensioners'
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money from caterpillar's stock. in a statement, the group jewish voice for peace said -- in portland, texas, two teenage girls who were in the same-sex relationship have been shot in the head, one of them fatally. 19-year old mollie judith olgin was found dead in a grassy area at a park on saturday with 18- year-old mary christine chapa, who was rushed to hospital. chapa underwent surgery and was listed in serious condition, but stable. the two women had been in a relationship for five months. authorities said they do not yet know whether the young women's sexuality was a factor, but said the crime did not appear to be random. former president jimmy carter has issued one of his most
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forceful criticisms to date oppose 9/11 u.s. foreign policy. in a new york times opinion piece called "america's shameful record on human rights," president carter rights -- carter also signals that the obama administration's expansion of targeted killings adding -- those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh.
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>> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. on monday, the supreme court issued its long-awaited ruling on arizona's anti-immigrant law known as sb1070. the court struck down 3 of the law's 4 provisions that subjected undocumented immigrants to criminal penalties for seeking work or failing to carry immigration papers at all times. in each case, the majority said those powers rest with the federal government, not with arizona. but in a unanimous decision, the justices upheld the law's controversial section 2-b, which requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop before releasing them. arizona's republican governor jan brewer hailed the decision to uphold what she called the heart of the law. >> today is a day when the key components of our efforts to protect the citizens of arizona, to take up the fight against
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illegal immigration and a balanced and constitutional way has unanimously been vindicated by the highest court in the land. >> arizona governor, jan brewer. critics of the controversial show me your papers provision say it puts people of color at risk of racial profiling. the justice department has already sued maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio for engaging in "pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination" and that latinos. meanwhile, arpaio said monday's ruling would have little impact on how his officers operate. >> i think this is a good section that has been upheld. i would have liked to see where we would have the authority to arrest illegal aliens just by being here illegally and book them into our jails, but that is not going to happen. but i think this sends a message that we will be involved in the
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illegal alien laws and our police officers will be at least try to determine if there in this country illegally. >> after the supreme court's ruling, the justice department set up a hotline to report potential civil rights concerns related to sb1070. federal immigration officials followed by suspending joint agreements in arizona, known as 287-g, that deputize state and local police to detain immigrants. it prompted calls to in the secure communities program, which uses arrest records to target so-called criminal aliens but largely deports immigrants accused of minor offenses. for more on reaction to the sb1070 decision, we're joined in washington, d.c. by marielena hincapié, executive director of the national immigration law center. her group is moving ahead with its own civil rights challenge to sb1070 and similar laws in 5 other states. the suit is filed jointly with maldef and the aclu, which announced monday it has an
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almost $9 million war chest to battle any copycat legislation. in phoenix, viridiana hernandez is an undocumented immigrant who has lived in arizona since she was one year old. she recently turned 21. she was arrested in march protesting police collaboration with immigration authorities and now canvases neighborhoods to get out the vote, even though she herself cannot cast a ballot. she's a student at grand canyon university and would benefit from the open administration's recent order allowing undocumented youth to apply for a two-year stay from deportation. we welcome you both to "democracy now!" , thelena hincapié significance of the supreme court ruling? >> thank you for the invitation. as you mentioned at the top of the hour, the supreme court's decision has struck down three out of the four provisions of sb1070 and sends a strong message not just to arizona, but other states considering similar laws. however, we believe the fact the
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supreme court has upheld section to-be, the rifle -- racial profiling, has put the supreme court on the wrong side of justice. we know from alabama, which is the only other state we've seen a similar provision go into effect since last september when the district court did not block the provision from going into effect, we've seen the harm this has caused, the racial profiling and discrimination not just undocumented immigrants, but all people of color. >> how do you explain the facts that on 2-b, the judge's decision was unanimous? >> unfortunately, the fact the majority of the court reached that decision and also when you look at the decision and seek their release struggled with what to do, whether to strike it down completely, they basically have also said that while they think at this time they do not
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have sufficient evidence -- remember, the only issue before the supreme court was the issue of whether it was pre-empted. justice roberts actually frames the discussion and ask the solicitor general from the u.s. insuring the argument was not going to touch upon racial and ethnic discrimination. >> explain what any by preempted. >> the main argument the departments of justice had before the supreme court was arguing only the federal government under the constitution and under the supremacy clause has the authority to regulate and create immigration law. that is for a whole host of reasons or we would have 50 states with different immigration laws for foreign- policy reasons it is important for the u.s. as a sovereign nation to regulate who comes in and who needs to leave the country. that was the only issue before the supreme court. in the decision yesterday, the supreme court notes it made -- 2-b may be found
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unconstitutional and other grounds for it in our case, the civil-rights lawsuit and class- action lawsuits pending, we have a number of other constitutional claims. that is why we believe eventually it will be struck down. >> could you explain in a little more detail the class-action lawsuit your organization is involved in? >> we filed our class-action lawsuit, the first one against sb1070, july 2010 before the department of justice filed their lawsuit as well. we're basically arguing all of sb1070 should be struck down because it violates the first amendment right in terms of individuals' ability to assemble, deliver provisions for example, the fourth amendment rights in terms of when law- enforcement gets to stop in terms of searches and seizures. we believe it violates the fifth amendment as well, due process
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violations. and the 14th minute with respect to equal protection. that is the crux of 2-b. law-enforcement officials, even janet napolitano in july 2010, said this provision cannot be enforced without racial profiling and cannot be done in a racially -- racially-neutral way. >> you said one of the effects of the decision taken by the supreme court is it is likely to increase the voter turnout by latinos in the upcoming presidential election. the supreme court's decision on sb1070 touches on a number of key issues for many voters. on monday, seiu's international secretary general said many latinos in november would vote against lawmakers who support restrictive immigration laws. >> we will in fact say this law is wrong. it will be overturned by the power of our boat, and we will
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make sure that we have an immigrant system that will do justice to a country of immigrants. >> obama said monday he would use the court's decision to push for congressional action on a broader overhaul of immigration laws. meanwhile, republican presidential candidate mitt romney said the supreme court "should have given more latitude to states on immigration." can you say a little bit about the effect of these decisions on the election, marielena hincapié? >> i think the decision from the supreme court sends a strong message to the states about what is and what is not constitutional. but by upholding section 2-b, we need to see this as a personal call to action but i would say every person in this country that cares about our constitution and fundamental values and sees we need to take our country back onto a path
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that is based on policies of the quality and hope really need to get the vote out. we need to take this to the ballot and boat out people who support laws like sb1070 and racial profiling. >> viridiana hernandez is with us in phoenix. first, your reaction to the ruling and then i want to talk about your own situation. >> thank you. i have been an undocumented student. when i first what happened in the ruling, it was a shock. it is what it is. something just happened. although a lot of things make it in a way they go, it does not make it right. we've seen it in history, so many things that have been legal, just like segregation, but it does not make it right. i know that is something our committee feels and any other undocumented student knows that this is the wrong thing that has happened, but it gives us fuel
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to fight even harder. >> you have been an undocumented immigrant, or as the dreamers movement calls a, undocumented american, since you were a 1- year-old in arizona. you just turned 21. you have taken great risks. you could be deported, but you are arrested in march protesting police collaboration with immigration authorities. can you talk about your own case, why you're taking these risks now with president obama's announcement, the executive order, you could become -- your situation could allow you to stay in the united states. >> the risk i took that day to get arrested, i mean, it is a risk we take every day. i could be arrested going from school to my house, from the store to my house. these are not new risks. these are risks that are more visible and challenging,
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challenging what the system has set up in arizona and throughout the u.s. it is a risk we take every day already, so it is like our duty to make sure people are aware of all the things that happened behind the scenes. once we challenge them, they are a lot harder to happen. what obama said, there have been a lot of things said throughout the last few years and it is up to us to make sure it actually becomes a reality. even then, the fact i to leave my house and say, "mom, i will be back tonight" she cannot leave the house and, the same thing. families are still at risk. communities are still at risk. there is not a win in last the whole committee wins. >> there's one man that has affected you and many immigrants lives in arizona more than any other, maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio. after the supreme court upheld
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the provision of arizona's law requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop, he was asked how he would ensure his officers respect people's lives. >> i think we have the most trained law enforcement office in the country because ice has trimmed 100 of my deputies. they took that story away, of course. plus 100 of my officers that have been train. five-week courses. we are well trained to perform our duties. >> viridiana hernandez, your response to sheriff arpaio? >> i was able to see exactly how they treat people being i was in the jail system, how this they torment people, laugh at people. those are things that a lot of people have gone through or experiences than me. even in joe, i was a privilege
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because the cameras were on. they still treated me a little bit better than they would like my mom. i go knocking on doors and talking to people. regardless of what he says, people have seen he is not doing his job, not protecting the community. when a community fears the people who are supposed to protect them, there is something wrong. like the community we talk to and throughout arizona, we see what is wrong with his office and people are ready to get him out. >> the supreme court justice antonin scalia's dissent in the sb1070 also criticized a policy that was not before the court -- president of his recent announcement his administration would not deport many undocumented immigrants who came to the u.s. as children. scalia wrote --
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, could youincapié respond to that statement by justice scalia? >> unfortunately, his dissenting opinion highlights how ideology really is what is at play. that issue was not before the supreme court. the fact he felt he needed to speak to that and once again question the obama administration's authority on immigration at the same time the court had just issued a majority opinion, talking about the importance of the federal government's authority under the supremacy clause of the united states, again, just reminds us of the biases at play. it is not surprising that is coming from justice scalia.
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however, i think the important thing is both the majority decision actually gives more power to the administration and those of us that have been pushing the administration, like the dreamers, that have taken a courageous actions to finally get the administration to accept and take ownership that they do have this authority and are finally exercising it. >> marielena hincapié, can you talk about what is happening in alabama and other states? >> are lawsuits in utah, indiana, georgia, alabama continue. we are focusing on arizona so we will vigorously pursuing the challenge is there any next days. in georgia and alabama, the 11th appeals, the court of most immediate next that. we at the national immigration law center are committed to fighting these laws in court until they are struck down as
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unconstitutional and also working with others to ensure the state level in 2013 we have states actually pursuing pro- immigrant policies rather than these misguided and unjust anti- immigrant laws. >> marielena hincapié, thank you for being with us, and also, viridiana hernandez. when we come back, we look at another supreme court decision. no longer can miners who committed murders be held for life sentences without parole. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we turn now to the issue of juvenile justice. in a groundbreaking ruling on monday, the supreme court ruled states may not impose mandatory life sentences without parole on children, even if they've been convicted of taking part in the murder. the justices ruled in a five to four decision that such harsh sentencing for children violated the eighth amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. the ruling does not mean the 2500 juvenile offenders currently serving such sentences must be released, only that a nap at the chance for parole. the two cases at issue involved 14-year-old boys had taken part in murders in arkansas and
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alabama. justice elena kagan wrote for the majority that children still had unformed emotional and moral structures. and her decision, she wrote -- conservatives most members dissented. justice samuel alito said the ruling could lead to the release of young murderers who could kill again. in his dissent he wrote -- for more we're joined by two guests. bryan stevenson on the lam are supreme court case striking down -- argued the supreme court
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case challenging juvenile life without parole. and also, azim khamisa. his 20-year-old son was killed by a 14-year-old gang member tony hicks in 1995. let's first go to bryan stevenson in montgomery. he argued the case before the supreme court. talk about its significance. >> we are very encouraged by the court's ruling. this is an important step forward for 30, 40 years we have been defending -- sending children to die in the prison. we're the only country in the world doing that. until the court struck down the death penalty for juveniles in 2005, this was an issue that are virtually no attention. we are really pleased and last three years the court has
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recognized child status is critical and important, even in the criminal-justice system where for decades we have really ignored the plight, status, conditions, the challenges that children have in all communities with regard to sentencing. it is a really important step forward. >> you mentioned the u.s. is exceptional in putting children into prison for life. why is it the u.s. does that? how did that practice come about? >> i think we really have been victims of the politics of fear and anger for 40 years in this country, and had this tremendous investment in to excessive sentences, mass incarceration. our prison population in 1972 was 300,000. today it is 2.3 million. many of the people brought into the transformation had been kids. we lowered the minimum age for
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trying kids as an adult in many states. in the 1990's, we made mandatory sentencing a feature of the way we deal with kids. at the same time, the rest of the world has been recognized in protecting children is a critical human right and adopting things like the cabinet on the rights of the child. the u.s. and somalia are the only two countries in the world that have refused to sign the cabinet on the protection or the rights of the child, which i think has undermined our credibility and reputation on human rights abroad. >> i want to turn to azim khamisa. can you tell us your story about your son tariq, how he was killed, and the campaign you have waged since? >> sure. tariq was a student at the university. he worked on fridays and saturdays as a piece that delivery man. he was on his last delivery on a saturday night and was lured to
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a bogus address in san diego by a youth gang. it was an apartment building and not on any doors and found that no one ordered the pizza, so he came back to the car and put them in the trunk of the car. as he was about to leave the scene at the crime, he was accosted by four youth gang members, three were 14 years old and a leader was 18 who handed a 9 millimeter handgun to a 14-codepink commanded, "bust ."m, bones he fired a round through the window and shot my son. the bullet traveled across different parts of his chest. unfortunately, it was fatal. he died drowning in his own blood.
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it was over a lousy pizza at the age of 20. needless to say, it brought my life to a crashing halt. but i took a different response to the tragedy. this happened 17 years ago. i saw victims at both ends of the gun. i start with the premise that violence was a learned behavior. if you except that as a truism, then violence canossa be a learned behavior. i ended up for getting my son's killer nine months after that and started a foundation of my son's name. we work together to keep kids away from gangs, guns, and violence. 11 years ago, i co-founded another program that is constant and never ending improvement alongside the national youth program which is based in
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columbus, ohio. they are a fairly large nonprofit, present in seven states. we are an alternative to incarceration. the program is already in 7 cities, and we are having success in turning around youth offenders and bringing them back into society as functioning in contributing members. i'm really excited about the supreme court decision. i think it is a step in the right direction. but i think beyond that, i think we need to look at youthful offenders as a resource, because the kid who killed my son is now 30. i for gave him and said, when you come out, you can come join your grandfather and me and gave him some love and hope. when he was 22 years old, he aced his ged in prison with 94%.
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he is two-thirds of his way down with his first degree in child psychology, the casinos when he comes out, he will join his grandfather and me. in my heart of hearts, i know we saved him i tried to get him out under the schwarzenegger resuminregime. he was given a sentence 25 years to life with parole, but does not parole until 46 years of age. i look forward to the day. >> azim khamisa, the boy you're talking about, the boy who was responsible for killing your son was 14 years old at the time, tony hicks. during a sentencing hearing, tony asked for your forgiveness. let's go to a clip of that. >> a shot and killed tariq, a person i did not even know and did not do anything wrong. i wish [unintelligible]
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i think about the warnings my grandfather gave me, and i wish i had listened. i cried andne, begged god to let me out of here. i will be a better person. i won't mess up. >> tony hicks's grandfather and guardian described the conversation he had with tony in juvenile hall shortly after he murdered your son. >> it just came over and started crying and started bawling and started screaming about how sorry he was. he said, daddy, i am so sorry. i'm so sorry. i never wanted to hurt anybody. i am so sorry for what i did. i hope mr. azim khamisa can forgive me for what i've done
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and hope you can forgive me for what i have done. >> azim khamisa, that was the grandfather of tony hicks, ples felix. >> correct. we're still together 17 years later. we're speaking at a conference that deals with youth violence, in fact. it just shows you what is possible. tony is no longer bound things. we have footage of him when you was 26. we used the clip you just shared with your audience and we also have to an half-hour's more. you see the change in him. at 14, he concede the gang banging mentality. at 26, he comes across as a monk, as a result of me for giving him and hitting him hope. the brink of a child is not formed at the age of 14. research shows the full brain is
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not developed until summer in the mid 20s. i think there's a lot of potential in this young offenders that if we create the right kind of and permit -- and i think the programs i am involved in thaddress these kids can come back into society and not only come back, but come back as contributing members. we have four full-time employees who were all ex-convict that are so passionate that they do not want other kids to follow in their footsteps. tony will do that, too. >> in 2009, pbs's tim o'brien interviewed judge j. rogers padgett, a judge in florida, on why he sentenced a 15-year-old named kenneth young to life in prison with no possibility of parole. young helped a 25-year-old crack dealer pull armed robberies of hotels around tampa bay, florida. young would take the video surveillance cameras and grab the cash from the boss held a gun on the clerks and barked
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orders. no shots were ever fired. >> what we see is what we get in the way of a defendant. we get a person who shows no remorse, a person who is smiling in court and thinks it is funny. we have a person, while he is under consideration for a life sentence, is flipping signals to people in the gallery. >> he is only 15. >> it gives no sign of slack whatsoever. >> that was judge j. rogers padgett. bryan stevenson can you respond to what he said? talk about the issue of race when it comes to children who are in prison for life without parole, and also what is the response of your clients? you argued, won his case before the supreme court. >> i think what i have seen over 20, 25 years representing kids is that kids change and the
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powerful story you heard earlier is just a testament to how we have filled many of the kids in our communities. we have allowed them to become hopeless and brought into violent environments and thrown them away. we have to change that. that judge's perspective -- which are ultimately did change -- i think is one reason why this fight is so important. kids need to be oriented. they need to be inspired. they need to be energized. they have been condemned long before there were arrested too many kids believe by the time they're 13 and 14 that their lives have no hope. they're going to die or are going to die in prison. that hopelessness is very much what we're trying to respond to. it would make no sense to condemn a child, in my view, to judge a child beyond hope, beyond rehabilitation, when they're still forming. we think it is cruel. the overwhelming majority of
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kids that we have condemned in this way our kids of color. add to the problem, it adds to the injustice. we are excited to have an opportunity to fight for some hopefulness, for some recovery, for some rehabilitation, particularly in communities where poverty and anger and violence and despair have already condemned and challenged the hope unlimited the aspirations of too many children. a >> we have 15 seconds. for those who are now sentenced to life without parole currently, serving time, what happens to them? >> they will be entitled to a new sentencing hearings. we will have to amass the resources necessary to provide legal assistance to all those people, but there is great enthusiasm, a great hopefulness this will become an opportunity to recover from some very extreme and unjust outcomes. >> bryan stevenson, thank you for joining us from the emirate,
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alabama, executive director of the equal justice initiative. he argued the supreme court case challenging juvenile life without parole. also, azim khamisa, thank you for being with us, his son, tariq, 20 years old when he was killed by a 14-old gang member named tony hicks. he has a foundation in his son's memory and cosine an amicus brief on behalf of victim family members who oppose life without parole for children. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, sharif abdel kouddous joins us to talk about the first democratically elected president of egypt. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we turn now to egypt, where
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president-elect mohammed morsi has moved into his new office and working on forming a new government. tens of thousands celebrated the results of the historic presidential elections in cairo's tahrir square over the weekend muslim brotherhood candidate morsi was declared the winner a week after the vote was held. he picked up 13.2 million votes, or 51%, beating out former egyptian prime minister ahmed shafiq, who received 12.3 million. in his victory address, morsi vowed to respect egypt's international obligations as well as human rights at home. >> i approach all the on this day we are witnessing. and which i have become thanks to god and your well, the president to all egyptians. and i will treat all egyptians the same and respect them equally. we will respect agreements and
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international law as well as egyptian commitments and treaties with the rest of the world. we will work to establish the press -- principles as well as human values, especially freedom and respect of human rights. the respect of women and family rights as well as children and to do with any discrimination. >> expectations are high for the first freely elected president and egypt and a website called morsimeter.com has already been set up to monitor his progress. president obama called president-elect morsi and congratulated him following his victory. speaking monday, state to permit spokesperson victoria nuland explained what president obama said. >> as the president made clear in his phone calls, we want to see president elect morsi take steps to advance national unity, to uphold universal values, to respect the rights of all egyptians, particularly women, minorities, christians, etc.
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>> to talk more about the significance of morsi's electoral victory, we're joined by "democracy now!" chris von sharif abdel kouddous. he is just back from cairo. -- correspondent sharif abdel kouddous but he is just back from cairo. >> he is the first democratically elected president and egypt, and it really marks a victory over the lingering of the ex party officials, media figures, state bureaucrats who really rallied around ahmed shafiq and a desperate bid to support his presidency and beat the muslim brotherhood, but they failed. morsi himself -- history is not one typical of leading brotherhood members who had years of imprisonment and sacrificed to the organization.
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he graduated from the faculty of engineering from cairo university and 1975 at a time when there was a rise in islamist politics within campuses. encouraged by said not to counter the left, which was big and capitalist at that time. he pursued his ph.d. in southern california. he worked as assistant professor in northridge. his children were born in the u.s. and entitled to citizenship. he returned to egypt in 1985. this marked the beginning of his slow ascent in the organization of the brotherhood, eventually serving on the guidance bureau. many see his position in the brotherhood, due to his close relationship with the group's top finance year and leading strategist, and because of his obedience, because of his skill
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as an organizational man, he rose through the ranks of the organization. in april 2011, his and the president of the muslim brotherhood's freedom and justice party. in 2000, elected to parliament and is really when the stamper started banging around. conservative among conservatives and organization. he is not afraid of injecting religion into a lot of politics during his time as a parliament member, speaking out against movies and music deemed too liberal and things of this nature. he put things ford against corruption occurring within the national democratic party and so forth. it remains to be seen how exactly he will perform. he pledged and has resigned from the custom brotherhood and resigned from the party once he was elected. we will have to see where it goes. he has already met with the head of the supreme council of the
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armed forces and de facto ruler of egypt right now. he has already backtracked on his earlier criticism of the military council, saying how the military was wise and praised its wisdom and running a transitional period and transparency and democracy, really going back on what the military council has done which was a very erratic, iran is, very flawed transition process. on june 20 when they're supposed to hand over power, not really a handover at all. >> some say this was not a vote so much for morsi as against the mubarak regime and shafiq was prime minister under mubarak. >> there was a large -- the core of the brotherhood who voted for morsi, but a lot of his support came as an anti-shafiq vote, against the former regime.
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celebrations in tahrir square, i really doubt they would have been that big if shafiq was not the person who lost against morsi. it marks an important victory over shafiq and the ruling party regime, however, what is being handed over on june 30 i think is the essence of the problem. as we discussed last week, the supreme council of the armed forces, minutes after polls closed, submitted a set of constitutional amendments that severely restrict the powers the president. the main crux of which is the president is not the commander of the armed forces. that effectively enshrines the supreme council of the armed forces as the fourth branch of government that is constitutionally separate. this is really the main battle, against the military council.
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was stands for morsi, apparently, negotiations for him to name his cabinet and prime minister, supposedly considering a el-baradei as prime minister. he has said he would not accept the position because he refused to run for president in january because under the rule of the military council, he saw it as a flawed transition. >> and then would not vote for the >> yes, and boycotted the vote. we will have to wait and see. morsi has pledged to name three vice presidents, one of which will be coptic christian -- >> is that normal? but we've never had a vice- president in egypt and tell lamar suleiuman. he was the first and only. >> many of the critics have expressed concern about his affiliation with the muslim brotherhood. this is abdel moneim aboul fotouh who himself resigned from brotherhood when he decided to
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run in the presidential election. >> we need to move forward. i'm calling upon the national political forces to obligate president mohamed morsi to achieve his commitment. he vows to achieve them and i am congratulating him on his victory in calling on forces to push him to fulfill his promises. we do not expect only televised speeches, but we need him to fill out fell -- fulfill his commitments. he needs no links to the muslim brotherhood. >> your response? abdel moneim aboul fotouh was with the brotherhood, but quit. >> he was a leading member, one that helped a rise the resurgence of the brotherhood on campuses in the 1970's and early 1980's. he left the group early last year -- last year when he decided to run. he has since come into confrontation with the leadership of the brotherhood
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and has been seen as really a candidate in the spirit of the revolution supported by a lot of revolutionaries, had a campaign that was a rainbow coalition that had liberal circulars altar of conservatives the lash secularist to ultraconservatives. he has been critical of the brotherhood because they have really left many of the revolutionary principles that people fought and died for inside it with the military council on many issues in pursuit of their own interests. we have already seen this backtracking now, with four very important -- is it in continues in tahrir. the brotherhood is calling for four things. one of which is the annulment of the constitutional amendment that takes power away from the presidency, and reinstating parliament which was dissolved a couple of weeks ago. to and all the military judicial decree that gives the military
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widespread powers of arrest and detention. the brotherhood is holding a sit in. but there is conflicting reports from senior members who are also negotiating and backtracking. we will have to see where that goes. there are a bunch of court cases in play right now. there is one right now that may be ruled today which would and all the very pernicious decree by the ministry of justice to really restore elements of martial law to egypt and allow the military intelligence to allow -- arrest and detain citizens. another important court case will decide whether parliament can be reinstated. what happens right now is some element of executive power will be handed over to mohamed morsi this month. there are negotiations around the constituent assembly that will draft the new constitution, which is the crux of the new egypt. the military has reinstated
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control over this process but it can veto any element of the constitution it does about like before it gets in stated. it can dissolve and entire body, upon its own. -- appoint its own grid we may also reelect a president after a new constitution. mohamed morsi may only be an interim leader. >> in addition to the constraints you have listed a presidential power, there are rumors that staff will maintain control of all the ministries. >> mohamed morsi has a right to name. no one is under any illusion that these key ministries which recall the sovereign ministries in arabic, will be appointed really by the military council.
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there is no way, i believe, morsi winning in one other than tantawi as the defense minister. we will have to see. >> could be armed forces just call for a new election and for months and mohamed morsi would be out? >> yes. they made up the rules as they went along. this has been a flawed process from the beginning. a big failure was to except in march 2011 the military to oversee what was a transition to civilian democracy. >> and where is on the shafiq? >> apparently flew to the united arab emirates with his older children, some of his grandchildren, just after charges of corruption were opened against him. >> sharif abdel kouddous, great to have you back in new york. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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